Blue – for dVerse Tuesday poetics

We came over the ridge
and paused for a moment –
the sea was impossibly blue,
and the sky was, too.

You took my hand.

It was hard to know
where one thing stopped
and the next began,
it was all just blue.

The kelp in the water moved
as if it was stirred by the wind,
and the grass moved around us,
caught in a current

and you took my hand.




I’m hosting at dVerse tonight, and I’m really excited to be sharing the art of Fay Collins with you tonight. This is the poem inspired by this picture. Please check out dVerse for more poems, and Fay’s site for more glorious paintings. floating seaweed

How I met your daddy – NaPoWriMo 17

Those glass slippers
aren’t that comfortable,
but we still danced all night.

I knew he was the one.

So, when I heard the tinkling
of the slipper landing on the step,
I smiled.

He searched the land for me,
of course, but when he found me,
I was sleeping, caught
in the cobwebs of a spell.
He woke me with a kiss,
but even then,
I couldn’t say I loved him –
I had sold my voice
to buy these legs.

Another kiss, to break that binding.

Did I tell you there were bluebirds?
Fluttering round us, singing, singing,
and a deer came, and some rabbits,
and an owl brought me a cloak,

and then your daddy set me on his horse,
and we rode here, this sunset palace,
to live our happy ever after.

And that is how it was.



For NaPoWriMo. Day 17. 

Our prompt for the day (optional as always) follows Gowrishankar’s suggestion that we write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time. It could be the story of the time your Uncle Louis caught a home run ball, the time your Cousin May accidentally brought home a coyote and gave it a bath, thinking it was a stray dog, or something darker (or even sillier).

Lingering day – haibun for dVerse

You called and I could hear the pain in your voice. It’s hard for you, to have to travel so far, and face such sadness at the end of the journey. It’s not a burden I can share. All I can do is check you in, hold the fort, do the washing, make sure this moving back and forth is as easy as possible. I wish I could do more.

Nobody warned me that the future always comes at such a price. We move on, gaining and losing all the time. We have no choice in this.

roses are fading
light lingers in the garden
twilight comes gently

What is this strange game we play? – NaPoWriMo 16

They’ve each got a handful of hearts,

but so far, he’s only played a diamond,

and her knight has taken his castle.

He went shopping, and he bought

an apple, a balloon, and

a candelabra,

and she’s hiding under the stairs

hoping that he’ll find her soon,

but he can’t do anything

until the music stops,

and she’s staked her

favourite shoes, and

every book she’s ever read,

and that thing that happened

when she was 14,

that she’s never told anyone about,

and he’s raised her

three kids, and a labrador,

and a cottage in the country,

and she can’t find the piece

with his face on it,

and he’s thrown snake-eyes

six times in a row,

and if she gets one more spade

she can build a house on Mayfair,

and he’s already put down three layers

of Lego,

and she loves her love with an “A”

because he’s audacious,

and he’s hiding in the attic

by the water tank,

hoping that she’ll find him soon,

but she can’t do anything

until she’s memorised the contents

of his soul.


For NaPoWriMo Day 16 – a poem about play. This is the prompt:

We have a new craft resource for you today, or maybe an anti-craft resource, in the form of this essay by Michael Bazzett warning against the fetishization of craft. Thinking hard thoughts about word choice, line breaks, sound, and structure can help to make a poem better, but too much emphasis on perfection can breed stale, airless verse. There always has to be room for play, and not just work, in our poems.

In this vein, our (optional, as always) prompt for the day asks you to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up (sort of like Calvinball).

Happy writing!

NaPoWriMo 14 – the meaning of a dream

Last night I dreamed I held a teacup
full of seagull feathers –
that precise detailing
of dreams – they were so white
and held the scent of sea, and fish-oil
a teacup is a pretty thing,
designed to hold,
and to be held. Man-made
there’s something here about my heritage,
my father’s family, rooted in the clay,
my mother, dainty on a shelf
but stronger than it looks.
That fine bone china
lets the light through.

The feathers seem so different –
there’s nothing wilder, greedier,
uglier, than a herring gull.
Gull snatches, smashes, steals,
a great white cry of “mine!”
but feathers are so beautiful,
and flight is freedom – to head out
unafraid, across the waves, wing tips
touching the white foam, the white sky

the white bird

The third thing is me.
We know our stories: the third
is power, the third wish
is the charm, the third child
wins the prize, the crone takes all.

In this dream, I’m serene,
I’m not surprised to find these feathers
where there should be tea –
I take a breath through kissing lips,
and blow.
white feathers fly, rising around me
like a cloud of cabbage whites,
or foam (again) or snowflakes. I’m engulfed
as if I’m trapped by freedom.

Then they fall, spiralling down,
and for a moment, I’m an angel.




This is for NaPoWriMo. Here’s the prompt, if you’re interested. You may feel the poem stands alone, and you don’t need to do any more reading. 

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Dream dictionaries have been around as long as people have had dreams. Interestingly, if you consult a few of them, they nearly always tend to have totally different things to say about specific objects or symbols. Dreams, unlike words themselves, don’t seem to be nicely definable! At any rate, today’s prompt is to write entries for an imaginary dream dictionary. Pick one (or more) of the following words, and write about what it means to dream of these things:




Ballet slipper


Wobbly table



Happy writing!

Ars Poetica – for dVerse

I built a tower out of words
in the green singing valley
and the tower shone in the light
of the setting sun.

I built a castle out of words
at the edge of the great ocean,
and the glimmering walls
withstood the crashing waves.

I built a city out of words,
with wide avenues, and open boulevards,
with shaded squares, and sunny terraces,
and I walked there, among my own folk,
with their many different faces,
and their words bubbling forth,
building towers, and castles,
and new cities, weaving
cottages from clouds,
and mansions from sea-mist.

I built a boat out of words,
and set sail across a sea
of strange shapes, and twisting images,
of whispered rhymes and dancing rhythms,
of half-seen mysteries, and
half-heard murmurings,
and let the wind take me
wherever it would.

This is for Paul at dVerse, who asks us to write a poem about the nature of poetry. This is what I wish it was like. 

NaPoWriMo 13 – don’t put all your eggs in one basket

The bath is full of turtle eggs.

There’s a wren’s egg nestled
in among the tea-bags, and
there are goldfinches hatching
all along the mantelpiece.

I opened the kitchen cupboard,
and it was full of duck eggs,
palest blue, like a whisper of sky,

and there are snake eggs
heaped by the wood-burning stove.

Tiny jewelled humming-bird eggs
hang in cobweb baskets from each beam,
and there’s a stately, plump
ostrich egg throned on the sofa,

and in the dining room
a hundred thousand butterflies
are laying pin-prick eggs
on the green velvet curtains.

Today NaPoWriMo asks us to play with proverbs, invert them and see what happens. 

Haibun – springtime – NaPoWriMo 12

There was a bright yellow balloon tangled in the hedge, happily bobbing up and down as the cars drove past. It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t been burst – everything is so spiky at the moment – or maybe I’m just more aware of those thorns at the moment because of the way spring is starting to hide them. The blackthorn has long, sharp spikes hidden by soft white blossom. The hawthorn has leaves now – bright, wax crayon green – hiding its thorns, and the gorse is a mass of bright coconut scented gold, in among the spines and prickles. Yet somehow, amongst all this, there is the yellow balloon, glowing in the spring sunshine.

Primroses whisper

Daffodils sing bright and clear,

Spring gold in the green


A haibun for NaPoWriMo – specifically a haibun set in our home surrounds. It’s Day 12 of NaPoWriMo, seems to be flying by. It’s not too late to join in…

The body as a state of union – NaPoWriMo 11

I have to admit, I got nothing from this prompt. However, I was determined to do it, so I turned to the trusty old Villanelle, thinking that some intense structure would help. It did. Now that I’ve done this, I’m wondering if I’ll suddenly get some inspiration for a stunning poem about my body as a nation state. If I do, I’ll let you know. Having said that, I guess inspiration is inspiration, wherever it comes from – even if it ends up being anti-inspiration.

I am an entity within my skin.
How often do I see myself that way?
Where do I end? Where does the world begin?

I’m blood, and flesh, and bones, and soul, built in
To something more than just the living clay:
I am an entity within my skin.

And yet, it feels like me, this scribbling pen,
Noting down all those words I wish to say –
Where do I end? Where does the world begin?

I guess it all depends on my instinct-
What’s me, what is kept close or pushed away –
I am an entity within my skin

Yet something physical is the linchpin,
My parts consider, conference, convey
Where my self ends, and where the world begins.

I’m not a team that’s setting out to win,
I’m like a  cast, that improvised a play,
Am I an entity within my skin?
Where do I end? Where does the world begin?

Dublin – for dVerse

My True Love is a Dublin man
And Dublin is his city,
So sing a song of Dublin
Where the girls are all so pretty

There’s a poet in each cafe
And the streets are paved with gold,
The pubs are full of music
And the gurriers are bold

Some men give you diamonds
Or a dozen roses red
My Love gave me the Long Hall
And the Palace Bar instead.

My True Love has grown older
And he’s watched his city growing –
The Celtic Tiger roared and then
The money started flowing,

You can buy a frappuccino
Where the poets used to sing,
And strut your stuff on Grafton Street,
With cocktails and with bling,

The nightclubs bang til 4 am
So have another jar,
And watch out for the stag dos
Throwing up in Temple Bar

My True Love comes from Dublin,
A memory of a city,
Where the Guinness flows like water
And the barmen all are witty.

Some men give you chocolates,
Some men give you flowers,
My love gave me a city
Of tenements and towers

My True Love is a Dublin Man
And Dublin is his city,
So sing a song of Dublin
Where the girls are all so pretty.


Welcome, Jilly, to dVerse, where the words flow like Guinness! This is for your first solo prompt – be inspired by a city.

I was lucky enough to see Andy Irvine the other night,so I’ve had some rhythms bouncing around in my head for a few days. My mother in law is unwell, so my husband’s been heading over to Dublin a lot recently, and, I guess, we’ve both been reflecting on changing times, mortality, getting older. A heavy load for a lightweight little number. The more musical among you may find a tune for it stored away in your brains somewhere…

Gurrier? a bad, bold boy…